Wreck Beach

Off the point of the headland that the University of British Columbia perches on lies a hidden gem. Well, maybe not that hidden. It is well-known to locals and I’m sure a few non-locals (like us) have heard about it too. We didn’t fully believe the nudist beach tag it was given, and not being nudists ourselves, although having no problem if others want to get their kit off, we decided to go check it out one hot summer day after M finished work.

Down 400 plus steps, lined with amazing forest scenery (the steps down were themselves pretty awesome in such a setting), we emerged to the most stunning view of ocean and beach I had seen so far in Vancouver (and still the most stunning in my opinion). And naked people. Not everyone was naked actually. There were guys with swimming shorts on, girls in bikinis and families with children, as well as naked or half naked people. Interesting mix, more than half were at least half clothed. Obviously, given the nudity that prevailed here, I didn’t think it was appropriate to get my camera out – and I kept my bikini on.

I felt like I had fallen into a movie set for some bad 1970s hippie film. Wrinkly old people who were very comfortable in their super tanned skin (and nothing else – and good on them!), over-extroverted perky young women who bounced around (to M’s delight) finding EVERYTHING “amazing, wonderful, fabulous” etc., (I think she might have been stoned), naked guys with their bikini clad girlfriends who were just so normal you didn’t even notice they had no clothes on, the old guy walking around totally starkers whispering “weed” out of the corner of his mouth (but where did he keep this weed on his naked body??), another guy growling out “cold beer” (I believe it’s illegal to have alcohol in public places here), the man with the singlet on and nothing else carrying bags of crisps and shouting out “munchies! Got the munchies!” – he obviously knows the clientele – to the weirdos who gave me the heeby geebies and made me feel scared for the kids on the beach – lucky not too many of these. One man was dressed in woman’s underwear with a floppy hat to cover his face – with his old boys hanging out the side of his panties. NO I did not look on purpose, it’s one of those creepy moments when something catches your eye and you wish you hadn’t seen it. He later just took off the bottoms and kept his bra on… My urge to giggle had to keep being suppressed. All of this pervaded by the strong scent of weed being smoked, sounds of hollow drums being beaten and young college girls dancing provocatively (in a totally movie, stoned, hilarious way) to the beat, waves lapping the shore.

And I can’t forget to mention the topless lass selling jewellery, including pierce-less nipple tassles. Which of course was purchased by the earlier mentioned extroverted perky young woman, who then asked for lessons very very loud on how to twirl her new nipple tassle. Which she got, to the delight of all the onlookers. Again, the urge to giggle had to be suppressed (second hand smoke getting the better of me? Or simply amusement at sights I’m not used to seeing?).

This place was awesome, in a weird free way. Coming from such a conservative country (say what you like NZ, we are a country of conservatives when it comes to the human body and nudity), it was actually pretty cool to see people who are so comfortable with themselves that they just don’t care. I could get used to it.

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